How to use Mind-maps for self-reflections

On Self-reflection

The power of self-reflection is in how it allows you to better understand why you feel and respond to certain situations in the way you do.

It requires you to have the courage to be honest about how you feel and deep dive into your innermost thoughts. This process is understandably filled with plenty of self-judgement and criticism.

That’s why, when we introduce self-reflection in our programmes for the first time, we tell our students to allow yourself to be free.

Trying to label, compartmentalise and rationalise these thoughts and feelings might end up constraining your free-flowing self-reflection process.

Imagine if you had the step-by-step mentorship to deep dive into yourself and clarify your purpose. Get updated when our SMFB Academy comes out online! 

On Mind-maps

kaboompics_Macbook, iPhone, Notebook, Cheese Cake and Cup of CoffeeWhen was the last time you thought in tabs, folders or menu lists? More often than not, we do NOT think like that.

In fact, our thoughts sprout out organically and begin to associate freely to new ideas in sometimes, completely different fields.

That’s why we can look at a children’s playground and think of our grandparents. 

In order to capture our thoughts in an organised manner, YET allowing it to roam freely, mind maps become a very powerful tool.

Steps to Mind-maps for Self-reflection

drawing sample mind map visual mapping

Source: Paul Foreman

There are MANY ways to build your mind-map.

The general architecture of a mind-map consists of a central idea, which is drawn in (obviously) the centre of the mind-map, and multiple branches of different ideas extending outwards. Some of us like to draw the branches, while others prefer to use arrows.

Rule #1 Have ONE word on EACH branch

I have the tendency of trying to pack an entire paragraph into one branch because hey, it needs to be properly explained for me to get what I’m even writing about.

Here’s the catch. The more you explain, the more you restrict your train of thoughts.

Ironic as it may seem, having ONE word on EACH branch allows your mind to flow freely to anything that might relate to that word.

Rule #2 Create as MANY branches as possible

Imagine if you were a book, what would the chapters be?
What if you look at your idea as a human, what would the associated topics be?
If this were a children’s creative arts class, what would your objectives be?

You can apply the creative thinking process to this activity.

Allow yourself to see the SAME topic from a different persona lens or in a different context. Draw out branches that might then spark new associations!

We’ve a FREE Brainstorming Toolkit that covers the MINDSET, PRACTICES and FACILITATOR’S TOOLS for more creative work.

You can get the free copy here.

We don’t always have absolute clarity on what we’re telling ourselves or how certain events and experiences have taught us to react in certain ways. Random associations would then create opportunities for new insights! 

Rule #3 Focus on ONE incident

Remember that our INTENTION here is to gain greater clarity on how and why we respond to certain situations the way we do.

We want to understand ourselves better.

In doing so, we need to first BE CLEAR about the incident that we’re thinking about.

Was it the last fight we had with our parents? Was it the last time you said hurtful things to you friend? Was it the last time you made a mistake and you thrashed yourself for it?

Visualise the incident you’re picturing with details! Reconstruct the scene with who you’re with, where you are, what you’re doing, what they are doing and even go down to how you feel.

Want a worksheet with prompt questions to facilitate students’ reflections? Download our free copy here.

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